As you’ve undoubtedly heard, someone took photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear in his prison cell and sold them to the New York Post the London’s Sun newspaper. The Sun published one photo today, and announced it will have more tomorrow. The Army is investigating to find out what happened, as taking and disseminating the photos is a violation of Army policy. Everyone is denouncing the violation of Saddam’s rights, talking about the Geneva Convention, etc.
Whatever. Saddam used to have his minions make videos when they would torture, rape and murder his political opponents (or anyone else who happened to run afoul of the ruling gang of criminals). Saddam and his cohorts would watch these videos for fun. (Hitler did the same thing, by the way–one of the rare Hitler analogies that is actually justified.) So do I have a lot of sympathy because Saddam got photographed in his underwear, folding a pair of slacks in what looks, not like a jail cell, but like a hotel room? Um, no. I don’t.
The usual suspects are invoking the usual litany of horrors. The Associated Press reports:
Saddam’s chief lawyer, Ziad al-Khasawneh, said his legal team would sue The Sun because the photos represent “an insult to humanity, Arabs and the Iraqi people.”
“It is clear that the pictures were taken inside the prison, which means that American soldiers have leaked the pictures,” he said by telephone from Amman, Jordan. “We will sue the newspaper and everyone who helped in showing these pictures.”
He said the photos were part “of a comprehensive war against the Islamic and Arab nations” that included the abuse at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison and allegations by Newsweek, which were later retracted, about Quran desecration at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
So Saddam will sue the Sun and the Post? Can I volunteer to be on the jury?
Al Jazeera’s reaction was puzzling, to say the least:
Jihad Ballout, a spokesman for the Al-Jazeera network, said his network did not show the pictures because it had ethical and professional concerns.
“The photo is demeaning to Iraqis,” he said, adding that “from the professional side, it is not news.”
It’s nice to know that Al Jazeera has “ethical and professional concerns.” I hadn’t noticed that before, especially when they were showing videos of Westerners having their heads cut off, or photos of captured and dead American soldiers.
Finally, note this bit of editorializing by the AP reporter:
President Bush said Friday he did not believe the photos would incite further anti-American sentiment in Iraq, which is edging toward open sectarian conflict.
Really? Open sectarian conflict? If it were true, that would seem to be a news flash worth a story of its own, not a snarky aside in an article on Saddam’s underwear.